Letters from a Stoic Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium - Letters LXV, LXXVII, and LXXVIII Summary & Analysis

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Letters LXV, LXXVII, and LXXVIII Summary and Analysis

Letter LXV: Seneca recounts having a recent illness which made it difficult to pursue his studies. While much of the day was spent in bed, he forced himself to read and write as much as he could. Eventually, however, his friends forced him to stop and discuss a philosophical question. They tried to determine if the Stoic concept of causation is better than that of Aristotle and Plato. For the Stoics, there are two basic elements in any object: matter and cause (or reason). Matter is the formless substance with "unlimited potential"—that is, it has no qualities of its own, but is capable of being turned into anything. It receives qualities from cause, which makes it into what it wants. In the example of a bronze statue, the bronze is the...

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